Brazilian model Mariana Bridi da Costa, who was fighting for her life last week after doctors were forced to amputate her hands and feet, died early Saturday morning at the age of 20. CNN confirmed the news via an email from Miss World Brazil executive director Henrique Fontes, who said, "Unfortunately Mari couldn't resist any longer."
Da Costa's fiancee, Thiago Simoes, tells CNN that da Costa woke up from her coma 10 days ago and was able to communicate with her loved ones for one last time. "She told me she was praying to stay alive, that she still had a
lot to do on this earth, that she wanted to go on with her plans," said Simoes. "She comes from a humble family and she was the main breadwinner."
The world was shocked and saddened by the story of da Costa, a two-time Miss World Brazil finalist who was originally misdiagnosed with kidney stones in late December. On January 3, her doctors discovered that da Costa actually had a urinary tract infection that had developed into septicemia, a disease that prevents blood flow to the extremities. In addition to performing the amputations on da Costa, doctors extracted both kidneys and a part of her stomach before her passing on Saturday.
Although septicemia is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, doctors admit they know little about the disease. "It is a leading health threat in this country, killing at least 800,000 people a year," said Dr. Greg Martin of Emory University to CNN.